Matthew Robert Daniel Minor, 40, (top right) was jailed for causing the crash which killed Lee Gunton, 22, (bottom right).
Matthew Robert Daniel Minor, 40, (top right) was jailed for causing the crash which killed Lee Gunton, 22, (bottom right). Chloe Lyons

Drunk driver's 'appalling' act after crash killed his mate

A DRUNK driver who crashed into a tree with such force it split the car in two before lying that his dead friend was the driver has been jailed for seven years.

Matthew Robert Daniel Minor, 40, had been drinking at a brewery in Maleny with his victim Lee Gunton, 22, on July 13 last year when he made the fatal decision to drive them home.

Minor was speeding along Maleny Kenilworth Rd - which is 80km/h speed limited - at more than 100km/h when he overtook a vehicle on a straight stretch of road.

He remained on the wrong side of the road to overtake a second car on a curve with an 70km/h speed recommendation.

 

Matthew Robert Daniel Minor, 40, caused a crash on Maleny-Kenilworth Rd which killed Lee Gunton, 22, in July 2018.
Matthew Robert Daniel Minor, 40, caused a crash on Maleny-Kenilworth Rd which killed Lee Gunton, 22, in July 2018. Facebook

The father of one ignored the upcoming bend and crashed into a tree, killing Mr Gunton instantly and splitting the silver sedan he was driving in two.

Mr Gunton's seat was dislodged and he was ejected from the car.

In the aftermath of the crash Minor, who was more than double the legal alcohol limit, was concerned with finding his thongs and a cigarette rather than the horror he caused and told witnesses he'd had drunk a "s--tload of alcohol".

Minor further told police Mr Gunton had been driving and he'd begged the deceased to slow down multiple times.

He pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court today to single counts of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death while intoxicated and driving while intoxicated.

Lee Gunton, 22, was tragically killed in a car accident on Friday night.
Lee Gunton, 22, was tragically killed in a car accident on Friday night. Claire Letitia Reynolds

Minor's parents were in court to support him, sitting just seats away from Mr Gunton's aunt who began to cry when horrific photos of the damaged car were shown to the court.

Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings told the court Minor's despicable driving history included 21 offences and seven licence suspensions.

He said Mr Minor showed a "persistent level of irresponsibility" while driving and argued for a head sentence of seven years' imprisonment.

Minor's barrister Lily Brisick told the court her client had been concerned with finding Mr Gunton after the crash and was "distressed", but "doesn't recall anything" about the night.

He has recently re-established an old relationship and believes his girlfriend is pregnant, but Ms Brisick said there'd been no medical confirmation.

Judge Glen Cash said it was "inexcusable" and "appalling" that Minor told police he was the passenger during the crash.

"Being drunk seems to have clearly influenced your decision to drive in the first place," he said.

"The ripples of conduct like this spread very wide.

"No matter what I do today, his family and friends will continue to feel his loss."

Judge Cash sentenced Minor to seven years' imprisonment with parole eligibility after serving two years.

He was further disqualified from driving for three and a half years.

Minor was seen wiping tears from his eyes as he was led out of the dock.


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